Said show's title is, of course, a witty
play on a Boxing
rule. Ok, it seems I'm wrong about this. Thanks, Footprints
. Even so, the phrase was probably re-popularised by it's common use in boxing. A boxer
can be saved by the bell
if they have been knocked to the mat and the ref
does not complete his 10 count before the bell rings. A fighter can be saved by the bell
in any round
, only the last round
or not at all depending on where they are fighting.
In most boxing matches "unified rules" are used in which a fighter cannot be saved by the bell in any round. Most other rule sets, like for various US states and some areas of the UK and Europe, use the "can only be saved by the bell in the last round" rule.
Even though the rule mainly applies to the situation described above, it could also be used to describe other similar situations in boxing. For example, rounds in which a fighter is "in trouble" and about to be knocked out. If he can keep on his feet until the bell rings he'll get a much needed rest. This applies doubly when it is the final round and the fighter on wobbly legs is well ahead on the scorecard.
It has been claimed that "saved by the bell" comes from the practice of attaching a bell to the inside of a coffin
. If buried alive
the unfortunate person could ring the bell alerting someone to their horrific predicament. This was almost certainly just a story
created more recently
though. Versions of this story can found in many different forms across the web. There are also similar explanations involving the Black Death
and supposed healing powers of bells. It also seems quite possible that Footprints story is an Urban Legend
. On the other hand, the phrase "saved by the bell
" most likely did not originate with boxing.